Craig Edwards FanGraphs Trade Value Series Chat – 8/20/2020


Craig Edwards: Let’s get things rolling.


Craig Edwards: If you haven’t, please check out this year’s Trade Value Series. We are up to 11 and the top-10 will go up in the morning.


BillG: I was surprised by how low Franco is placed.  Tampa Bay is increasing his value by not playing him right now, while his not playing is what you eluded to as being the reason for his placement.  In a non Covid season would he have been right after Tatis and Acuna?


Craig Edwards: If the season had started in April like normal, and Franco went and crushed Double-A, I think he’d be pretty easily five spots higher and I’d consider more.


Craig Edwards: One of the weird things about this exercise is that if some of these players were actually made available, we would immediately question how good they actually are.


99 losses: Given the (mild?) outbreaks of NEW young Padres players: Grisham and Cronenworth; what would they each need to do to make this list in 2021?


Craig Edwards: Grisham was fairly close this year though the opinions on him are fairly wide-ranging. A strong first half next season probably puts him on the list. Cronenworth would need to do a lot more.


White Sox homer: Love the series per usual! Surprised not to see Timmy Anderson and/or Yoan Moncada mentioned so far. Any thoughts on those two?


Craig Edwards: I love Moncada and have been watching him, like everyone, for a long time. He made some great adjustments last season and he’s signed through 2025. Anderson has put together one solid season close to All-Star caliber. He’s off to a really good start this season, but there’s still a lot of risk in his game. He’s already 27 years old so the last two years of his deal are in his 30s and it isn’t clear how the defense or the BABIP will age for him. He doesn’t take walks and he strikes out a lot. There’s a lot to like about Tim Anderson, but in terms of trade value, the skepticism on batting and baserunning is going to keep his value down.


George: I know you put Robles in the HM section but would a quick estimate put him in the 50-65 range or higher than that?


Craig Edwards: I didn’t specifically rank after 50, but he’s probably somewhere in there. He’s got a high floor with his defense in center field and he could improve as a hitter.


Y I K E Mastrzemski: Should the Giants trade me?


Craig Edwards: Unless they believe he is total flash in the pan, I don’t think so. You want to trade while his value is high, and even with this start, the value isn’t very high, because the track record is so short. Maybe a year from now if he’s still good, though maybe in a year, he looks like he might stick with the Giants.


Glenn Spankman: I was surprised by Rutschman at #41. Aren’t catcher prospects notoriously unreliable?


Craig Edwards: That’s might be why there haven’t been any catchers ranked in the top-10 at FanGraphs since at least 2017, until Rutschman. That he’s rated that high means he is isn’t likely to be unreliable.


Tom: I can lift much heavier weights if I take longer time in between repetitions. Has anyone ever theorized that pitchers taking longer time in between pitches will retain their arm strength (over the course of a single outing) better? Would “working fast” even perhaps increase risk of injury?


Craig Edwards: I know the velocity goes up so it is theoretically a double-edged sword. If you work fast, are you more likely to work more within the confines of what you’re body can reasonably do? If you wait longer and go full bore, are you then increasing the chance of injury due to overthrowing? I don’t know what the answer is.


Oklahomabrave: Soroka’s Achilles take him off the list?


Craig Edwards: Yes. Mentioned it in the intro piece.… He was on earlier iterations of the list, but the injury took him off. He isn’t going to pitch in public until next spring, and that makes it difficult for a trade because of the uncertainty regarding the recovery and regaining strength. He could end up on the list next season if he comes back strong even as he lost a year of team control.


George: Would Fangraphs ever do a series that shows the opposite of the Trade Value Rankings? Like ranking the players who are least likely able to be moved. Or is that a little bit in bad taste?


Craig Edwards: Dave used to a thing that like, but stopped. It’s sort of in bad taste, but also, teams just don’t hand out as many bad contracts as they used to.


Daron: How much did Christian Yelich’s extension impact his ranking?


Craig Edwards: Judge was the highest player with two years of service time ranked this season at 27. Last year, it was Lindor at like 13th, I think, which means Yelich ended up about where he would have otherwise, which makes sense given Yelich got market value for his contract given the years of control already present. If you can give somebody $200 million and have it not impact their trade value, that’s probably a good thing.


Daron: Did his 2020 struggles contribute to Jose Berrios falling off the list?


Craig Edwards: Not really. He was probably going to come off the list either way just because there are only two more years after this one until free agency.


Daron: How dominant would a reliever have to be to crack the top 50? Were there any under consideration while you drafted the list?


Craig Edwards: Crazily dominant. Hader and Vazquez were on last year’s Honorable Mention list and there wasn’t anybody I thought worth consideration this year. Also, relievers tend to get paid a lot closer to their market value in arbitration which serves to keep their value down compared to other pitchers and position players.


Tom: I don’t think Whit Merrifield has ever cracked the T50 here. Averaging > 3 wins a year for 4 years, on a very cheap contract. Of course he’s 31, but also zero injury history. Why doesn’t the industry value him at all?


Craig Edwards: I think it was mostly timing. He had a breakout year in 2018 when he was 29 years old, but the value after just a half-season’s breakout wasn’t great. He declined the next season at 30, and there’s just not that much value for a player’s 30s is they look like a three win player presently.


Zach: Obviously we’ll find out tomorrow but how much of this years struggles went into Bellinger’s ranking


Craig Edwards: I don’t think I consciously weighed them too heavily. The years of control and higher arbitration salaries were fairly important and might have helped break a few ties.


Farhandrew Zaidman: Where will the line between buyers and sellers be this trade deadline? Theoretically any team with a .450+ winning percentage should be in the playoff hunt.


Craig Edwards: Depends what you are buying. Teams might be looking toward next year and trying to pick up players with significant salary obligations who can help them this year and next, even if they are at .500 or a little below. It’s hard to know how much teams are actually going to want to give up this year for just a month of production, even if it almost half the season.


James: Who is the highest ranked player above age 30? DeGrom?


Craig Edwards: Yes, though Muncy will be there next week. At the bottom of the rankings pages, there’s a list with the rankings that includes age.


B: Have you all considered creating a “surplus value” metric for your leaderboards?  If you know salaries, and you know the WAR provided (or projected WAR), you could calculate things like most surplus value in a year and projected surplus value over the remainder of the contract/team control years.  It strikes me that this is all the trade value series is really doing anyway, but why not make it more of a quantifiable exercise with leaderboards to accompany it?


Craig Edwards: Yes, several here have considered doing something like that, and it is something we’d like to do if we can get the time. I will say, that isn’t entirely what this exercise is doing, as it is based on the actual trade value that teams are putting on players based on my conversations with them.


Mets: McNeil’s spot in the TV series seemed surprising – no bump after another year of excellent results and guys ahead of him (Laureano, Meadows, Kepler) projected for lower WAR. Is the industry still pretty skeptical of his results and high-swing approach?


Craig Edwards: The people I spoke to were just a lot higher on the other guys, particularly Meadows and Kepler. The projections weren’t the be-all, end-all and I needed to listen to what teams were telling me. McNeil has a lot of trade value, but as I mentioned in the piece, there are concerns about sustainability and he is a bit older than most of the other players considered.


Chris: Who did you expect to make the list that didn’t?


Craig Edwards: I had Will Smith in earlier iterations of the list, but he just got pushed out at the end.


Chris: Who surprised you the most with their position on the list?


Craig Edwards: I think Mookie Betts surprised me the most given he just signed a massive contract.


Juan Soto 🐐: Humor me and come up with a fair trade package from the cubs for my man Juan Soto. I don’t care what it costs


Craig Edwards: Sorry, I’m not sure anybody else would find that funny.


BarryBondsJuicedForOurSins: What were the thoughts about Buxton for the list?  None?


Craig Edwards: He was maybe close to honorable mention. I am a big fan of his, but he’s now just two more years from free agency, and there weren’t too many guys like that who got close to the top-50.


Guest: Where would you put Dylan Carlson on the list? In the 50s?


Craig Edwards: He’s probably somewhere in the next 20 or so. There’s enough disparity in evaluations that he wasn’t a sure thing. If you look at the prospects who made the list, it was the guys in the top-8 plus May. In terms of a consensus, he’s just a bit outside that range.


Austin: How close was Kristian Robinson to an HM spot? I was surprised not to see him listed among those prospects


Craig Edwards: He wasn’t that close. There’s probably another 15 or 20 players that were ahead of him. Eric’s report on him is right here.


Craig Edwards: and here’s the BOARD for reference:…


Billy Beane: Hi you did not rank *my favorite player* as highly as I would; (#1 overall) why do you carry this vendetta against me?


Craig Edwards: you know what you did.


alonsoBet: Is Brandon Nimmo a star? 148 WRC+ in 2018, plays with injured neck for first two months of 2019 but has 159 WRC+ in September when he comes back healthy, and has a 159 WRC+ so far this year! The plate discipline is just so elite


Craig Edwards: If he can make it through a full season, he might be. Of course, he won’t get the opportunity until next season.


Guest: How did Ohtani get on this list? He is cheap but only a DH & the injuries have been significant. I mean you have him over Degrom & next year the NL DH will be gone so Ohtani only has value to 15 teams.


Craig Edwards: He’s a good hitter and it isn’t a foregone conclusion that pitching is over for him. This setback is a fairly normal one for those who have TJ. It’s hard to give up on a two-way player.


Craig Edwards: That’s all the time I have for today. Have to get the rest of the top-10 blurbs written. Look for that tomorrow. Thanks for the questions.

Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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3 years ago

“I can lift much heavier weights if I take longer time in between repetitions. Has anyone ever theorized that pitchers taking longer time in between pitches will retain their arm strength (over the course of a single outing) better? Would “working fast” even perhaps increase risk of injury?”

I don’t really think this would have much of an impact because throwing a baseball is a low weight, high repetition exercise. To make an example, if you are bench pressing 50lbs you can move a lot of repetitions at a similarly fast pace, if you up that to 150lbs you may still be able to move at a similarly quick pace but you slow down far quicker than at 50lbs. Throwing a baseball would be much more like the 50lbs bench press, the weight is so relatively low I don’t see a 5-10 second difference in between pitches impacting velocity pitch to pitch nor over the course of a game.

You should probably think of each inning as a low weight set of repetitions. During the average inning a pitcher probably does not do enough reps for more rest to make a difference. However, during longer innings more rest may be beneficial as the pitcher reaches a point in his ‘set’ where he starts to slow down the speed of each rep (no idea where the average cut off rate would be).

Pitchers then get a much longer period of rest while the other team bats before starting their next set.